Most ViewedHow The Earl Of Surrey And The Fair Geraldine Plighted Their Troth In The Cloisters Of Saint George's Chapel
How The Earl Of Surrey And The Fair Geraldine Met In King James's Bower In The Moat
Of The Combat Between Will Sommers And Patch
How King Henry The Eighth Held A Chapter Of The Garter
Of The Meeting Of King Henry The Eighth And Anne Boleyn At The Lower Gate
Showing How Morgan Fenwolf Escaped From The Garter Tower
How Mabel Lyndwood Was Taken To The Castle By Nicholas Clamp
What Passed Between Anne Boleyn And The Duke Of Suffolk And How Herne The Hunter Appeared To Her In The Oratory
How Herne Appeared To Henry In The Home Park
In What Manner Herne Declared His Passion For Mabel
Least ViewedHow Tristram Lyndwood Was Interrogated By The King
Of The Interview Between Henry And Catherine Of Arragon In The Urswick Chapel
The Last Great Epoch In The History Of The Castle
Of The Mysterious Noise Heard In The Curfew Tower
How Herne The Hunter Appeared To Henry On The Terrace
Comprising The Fourth Epoch In The History Of The Castle
How Sir Thomas Wyat Found Mabel In The Sandstone Cave And What Happened To Him There
Of The Desperate Resolution Formed By Tristram And Fenwolf And How The Train Was Laid
How Anne Boleyn Received Proof Of Henry's Passion For Jane Seymour
What Passed Between Norris And The Tall Monk
How King Henry The Eighth Held A Chapter Of The Garter
From a balcony overlooking the upper ward, Anne Boleyn beheld the
king's approach on his return from the Garter Tower, and waving her hand
smilingly to him, she withdrew into the presence-chamber. Hastening to
her, Henry found her surrounded by her ladies of honour, by the chief
of the nobles and knights who had composed her train from Hampton Court,
and by the Cardinals Wolsey and Campeggio; and having exchanged a few
words with her, he took her hand, and led her to the upper part of the
chamber, where two chairs of state were set beneath a canopy of crimson
velvet embroidered with the royal arms, and placed her in the seat
hitherto allotted to Catherine of Arragon. A smile of triumph irradiated
Anne's lovely countenance at this mark of distinction, nor was her
satisfaction diminished as Henry turned to address the assemblage.
"My lords," he said, "ye are right well aware of the scruples of
conscience I entertain in regard to my marriage with my brother's widow,
Catherine of Arragon. The more I weigh the matter, the more convinced am
I of its unlawfulness; and were it possible to blind myself to my sinful
condition, the preachers, who openly rebuke me from the pulpit, would
take care to remind me of it. Misunderstand me not, my lords. I have no
ground of complaint against the queen. Far otherwise. She is a lady
of most excellent character--full of devotion, loyalty, nobility, and
gentleness. And if I could divest myself of my misgivings, so far from
seeking to put her from me, I should cherish her with the greatest
tenderness. Ye may marvel that I have delayed the divorce thus long. But
it is only of late that my eyes have been opened; and the step was hard
to take. Old affections clung to me--old chains restrained me--nor could
I, without compunction, separate myself from one who has ever been to me
a virtuous and devoted consort."
"Thou hast undergone a martyrdom, gossip," observed Will Sommers, who
had posted himself at the foot of the canopy, near the king, "and shalt
henceforth be denominated Saint Henry."
The gravity of the hearers might have been discomposed by this remark,
but for the stern looks of the king.
"Ye may make a jest of my scruples, my lords," he continued, "and think
I hold them lightly; but my treatise on the subject, which has cost
me much labour and meditation, will avouch to the contrary. What would
befall this realm if my marriage were called in question after my
decease? The same trouble and confusion would ensue that followed on the
death of my noble grandfather, King Edward the Fourth. To prevent such
mischance I have resolved, most reluctantly, to put away my present
queen, and to take another consort, by whom I trust to raise up a worthy
successor and inheritor of my kingdom."
A murmur of applause followed this speech, and the two cardinals
exchanged significant glances, which were not unobserved by the king.
"I doubt not ye will all approve the choice I shall make," he pursued,
looking fiercely at Wolsey, and taking Anne Boleyn's hand, who arose
as he turned to her. "And now, fair mistress," he added to her, "as an
earnest of the regard I have for you, and of the honours I intend you,
I hereby create you Marchioness of Pembroke, and bestow upon you a
thousand marks a year in land, and another thousand to be paid out of my
treasury to support your dignity."
"Your majesty is too generous," replied Anne, bending the knee, and
kissing his hand.
"Not a whit, sweetheart--not a whit," replied Henry, tenderly raising
her; "this is but a slight mark of my goodwill. Sir Thomas Boleyn," he
added to her father, "henceforth your style and title will be that of
Viscount Rochford, and your patent will be made out at the same time as
that of your daughter, the Marchioness of Pembroke. I also elect you a
knight-companion of the most honourable Order of the Garter, and your
investiture and installation will take place to-day."
Having received the thanks and homage of the newly-created noble, Henry
descended from the canopy, and passed into an inner room with the Lady
Anne, where a collation was prepared for them. Their slight meal over,
Anne took up her lute, and playing a lively prelude, sang two or
three French songs with so much skill and grace, that Henry, who was
passionately fond of music, was quite enraptured. Two delightful hours
having passed by, almost imperceptibly, an usher approached the king,
and whispering a few words to him, he reluctantly withdrew, and Anne
retired with her ladies to an inner apartment.
On reaching his closet, the king's attendants proceeded to array him in
a surcoat of crimson velvet, powdered with garters embroidered in silk
and gold, with the motto--boni soft qui mal y pense--wrought within
them. Over the surcoat was thrown a mantle of blue velvet with a
magnificent train, lined with white damask, and having on the left
shoulder a large garter, wrought in pearls and Venice twists, containing
the motto, and encircling the arms of Saint George--argent, a cross
gules. The royal habiliments were completed by a hood of the same stuff
as the surcoat, decorated like it with small embroidered garters, and
lined with white satin. From the king's neck was suspended the collar
of the Great George, composed of pieces of gold, fashioned like garters,
the ground of which was enamelled, and the letters gold.
While Henry was thus arrayed, the knights-companions, robed in their
mantles, hoods, and collars, entered the closet, and waiting till he
was ready, marched before him into the presence-chamber, where were
assembled the two provincial kings-at-arms, Clarenceux and Norroy, the
heralds, and pursuivants, wearing their coats-of-arms, together with the
band of pensioners, carrying gilt poleaxes, and drawn up in two lines.
At the king's approach, one of the gentlemen-ushers who carried the
sword of state, with the point resting upon the ground, delivered it
to the Duke of Richmond,--the latter having been appointed to bear it
before the king during all the proceedings of the feast. Meanwhile, the
knights-companions having drawn up on either side of the canopy, Henry
advanced with a slow and stately step towards it, his train borne by
the Earl of Surrey, Sir Thomas Wyat, and other nobles and knights. As he
ascended the canopy, and faced the assemblage, the Duke of Richmond
and the chief officers of the Order drew up a little on his right. The
knights-companions then made their salutation to him, which he returned
by removing his jewelled cap with infinite grace and dignity, and
as soon as he was again covered they put on their caps, and ranging
themselves in order, set forward to Saint George's Chapel.
Quitting the royal lodgings, and passing through the gateway of the
Norman Tower, the procession wound its way along the base of the Round
Tower, the battlements of which bristled with spearmen, as did the walls
on the right, and the summit of the Winchester Tower, and crossing the
middle ward, skirted the tomb-house, then newly erected by Wolsey, and
threading a narrow passage between it and Saint George's Chapel, entered
the north-east door of the latter structure.
Dividing, on their entrance into the chapel, into two lines, the
attendants of the knights-companions flanked either side of the north
aisle; while between them walked the alms-knights, the verger, the
prebends of the college, and the officers-of-arms, who proceeded as far
as the west door of the choir, where they stopped. A slight pause then
ensued, after which the king, the knights-companions, and the chief
officers of the Order, entered the chapter-house--a chamber situated at
the north-east corner of the chapel--leaving the Duke of Richmond, the
sword-bearer, Lard Rochford, the knight-elect, the train-bearers, and
pensioners outside. The door of the chapter-house being closed by
the black-rod, the king proceeded to the upper end of the
vestments-board--as the table was designated--where a chair, cushions,
and cloth of state were provided for him; the knights-companions, whose
stalls in the choir were on the same side as his own, seating themselves
on his right, and those whose posts were on the prince's side taking
their places on the left. The prelate and the chancellor stood at the
upper end of the table; the Garter and register at the foot; while the
door was kept by the black-rod.
As soon as the king and the knights were seated, intimation was given by
an usher to the black-rod that the newly elected knight, Lord Rochford,
was without. The intelligence being communicated to the king, he ordered
the Dukes of Suffolk and Norfolk to bring him into his presence.
The injunction was obeyed, and the knight-elect presently made
his appearance, the Garter marching before him to the king. Bowing
reverently to the sovereign, Rochford, in a brief speech, expressed his
gratitude for the signal honour conferred upon him, and at its close
set his left foot upon a gilt stool, placed for him by the Garter, who
pronounced the following admonition:--"My good lord, the loving company
of the Order of the Garter have received you as their brother and
fellow. In token whereof, they give you this garter, which God grant you
may receive and wear from henceforth to His praise and glory, and to the
exaltation and honour of the noble Order and yourself."
Meanwhile the garter was girded on the leg of the newly-elected knight,
and buckled by the Duke of Suffolk. This done, he knelt before the king,
who hung a gold chain, with the image of Saint George attached to
it, about his neck, while another admonition was pronounced by
the chancellor. Rochford then arose, bowed to the monarch, to the
knights-companions, who returned his salutations, and the investiture
Other affairs of the chapter were next discussed. Certain officers
nominated since the last meeting, were sworn; letters from absent
knights-companions, praying to be excused from attendance, were
read--and their pleas, except in the instance of Sir Thomas Cheney,
allowed. After reading the excuse of the latter, Henry uttered an angry
oath, declaring he would deprive him of his vote in the chapter-house,
banish him from his stall, and mulct him a hundred marks, to be paid
at Saint George's altar, when Will Sommers, who was permitted to be
present, whispered in his ear that the offender was kept away by the
devices of Wolsey, because he was known to be friendly to the divorce,
and to the interests of the lady Anne.
"Aha! by Saint Mary, is it so?" exclaimed Henry, knitting his brows.
"This shall be looked into. I have hanged a butcher just now. Let the
butcher's son take warning by his fate. He has bearded me long enough.
See that Sir Thomas Cheney be sent for with all despatch. I will hear
the truth from his own lips."
He then arose, and quitting the chapter-house, proceeded with the
knights-companions to the choir--the roof and walls of the sacred
structure resounding with the solemn notes of the organ as they
traversed the aisle. The first to enter the choir were the alms-knights,
who passed through the door in a body, and making low obeisances
toward the altar and the royal stall, divided into two lines. They
were succeeded by the prebends of the College, who, making similar
obeisances, stationed themselves in front of the benches before the
stalls of the knights-companions. Next followed the pursuivants,
heralds, and provincial kings-of-arms, making like reverences,
and ranging themselves with the alms-knights. Then came the
knights-companions, who performed double reverences like the others, and
took their stations under their stalls; then came the black-rod, Garter,
and register, who having gone through the same ceremony as the others,
proceeded to their form, which was placed on the south side of the choir
before the sovereign's stall; then came the chancellor and prelate,
whose form was likewise placed before the royal stall, but nearer to it
than that allotted to the other officers; and, lastly, Henry himself,
with the sword borne before him by the Duke of Richmond, who as he
approached the steps of his stall bowed reverently towards the altar,
and made another obeisance before seating himself.
Meanwhile the Duke of Richmond posted himself in front of the royal
stall, the Earl of Oxford, as lord chamberlain, taking his station on
the king's right, and the Earl of Surrey, as vice-chamberlain, on the
left. As these arrangements were made, the two cardinals arrived, and
proceeded to the altar.
Mass was then said, and nothing could be more striking than the
appearance of the chapel during its performance. The glorious choir with
its groined and pendent roof, its walls adorned with the richest stuffs,
its exquisitely carved stalls, above which hung the banners of the
knights-companions, together with their helmets, crests, and swords, its
sumptuously--decorated altar, glittering with costly vessels, its pulpit
hung with crimson damask interwoven with gold, the magnificent and
varied dresses of the assemblage--all these constituted a picture of
Vespers over, the king and his train departed with the same ceremonies
and in the same order as had been observed on their entrance to the
On returning to the royal lodgings, Henry proceeded to his closet, where
having divested himself of his mantle, he went in search of the Lady
Anne. He found her walking with her dames on the stately terrace at the
north of the castle, and the attendants retiring as he joined her, he
was left at full liberty for amorous converse. After pacing the terrace
for some time, he adjourned with Anne to her own apartments, where he
remained till summoned to supper with the knights-companions in Saint
The next morning betimes, it being the day of the Patron Saint of the
Order of the Garter, a numerous cavalcade assembled in the upper ward of
the castle, to conduct the king to hear matins in Saint George's Chapel.
In order to render the sight as imposing as possible, Henry had arranged
that the procession should take place on horseback, and the whole of the
retinue were accordingly mounted. The large quadrangle was filled with
steeds and their attendants, and the castle walls resounded with the
fanfares of trumpets and the beating of kettledrums. The most attractive
feature of the procession in the eyes of the beholders was the Lady
Anne, who, mounted on a snow-white palfrey richly trapped, rode on the
right of the king. She was dressed in a rich gown of raised cloth of
gold; and had a coronet of black velvet, decorated with orient pearls,
on her head. Never had she looked so lovely as on this occasion, and the
king's passion increased as he gazed upon her. Henry himself was more
sumptuously attired than on the preceding day. He wore a robe of purple
velvet, made somewhat like a frock, embroidered with flat damask gold,
and small lace intermixed. His doublet was very curiously embroidered,
the sleeves and breast being lined with cloth of gold, and fastened with
great buttons of diamonds and rubies. His sword and girdle were adorned
with magnificent emeralds, and his bonnet glistened with precious
stones. His charger was trapped in cloth of gold, traversed
lattice-wise, square, embroidered with gold damask, pearled on every
side, and having buckles and pendants of fine gold. By his side ran
ten footmen, richly attired in velvet and goldsmith's work. They were
followed by the pages of honour, mounted on great horses, trapped in
crimson velvet embroidered with new devices and knots of gold.
In this state Henry and his favourite proceeded to the great
western door of Saint George's Chapel. Here twelve gentlemen of the
privy-chamber attended with a canopy of cloth of gold, which they bore
over the king's bead, and that of the Lady Anne, as she walked beside
him to the entrance of the choir, where they separated--he proceeding
to his stall, and she to a closet at the north-east corner of the choir
over the altar, while her ladies repaired to one adjoining it.
Matins then commenced, and at the appointed part of the service the dean
of the college took a silver box, containing the heart of Saint George,
bestowed upon King Henry the Fifth by the Emperor Sigismund, and after
incense had been shed upon it by one of the canons, presented it to the
king and the knights-companions to kiss.
After the offertory, a carpet was spread on the steps before the altar,
the alms-knights, pursuivants, and heralds stationing themselves on
either side of it. The Garter then descended from his seat, and waving
his rod, the knights-companions descended likewise, but remained before
their stalls. The black-rod next descended, and proceeding towards the
altar, a groom of the wardrobe brought him a small carpet of cloth of
gold, and a cushion of the same stuff, which were placed on the larger
carpet, the cushion being set on the head of the steps. Taking a large
gilt bason to receive the offerings, the prelate stationed himself with
one of the prebends in the midst of the altar. The king then rose from
his stall, and making a reverence as before, proceeded to the altar,
attended by the Garter, register, and chancellor, together with the
Duke of Richmond bearing the sword; and having reached the upper step,
prostrated himself on the cushion, while the black-rod bending the knee
delivered a chain of gold, intended afterwards to be redeemed, to the
Duke of Suffolk, who was appointed to make the royal offering, and who
placed it in the bason held by the prelate. This ceremony over, the king
got up, and with similar reverences returned to his stall. Then the two
provincial kings, Clarenceux and Norroy, proceeded along the choir, and
making due reverences to the altar and the sovereign, bowed to the two
senior knights; who thereupon advanced towards the altar, and kneeling
down, made their offering. The other imitated their example, coming
forward according to their seniority.
The service ended, the officers and knights-companions quitted the
chapel in the same order they had entered it, the king being received
under the canopy at the door of the choir, and passing through the
west entrance of the chapel, where he waited for the Lady Anne. On
her arrival they both mounted their steeds, and rode up to the royal
lodgings amid flourishes of trumpets and acclamations. Dismounting
at the great gate, Henry proceeded to the presence-chamber, where the
knights-companions had assembled, and having received their salutations,
retired to his closet. Here he remained in deep consultation with the
Duke of Suffolk for some hours, when it having been announced to him
that the first course of the banquet was served, he came forth,
and proceeded to the presence-chamber, where he greeted the
knights-companions, who were there assembled, and who immediately
put themselves in order of procession. After this, the alms-knights,
prebends, and officers-of-arms passed on through the guard-chamber into
Saint George's Hall. They were followed by the knights-companions, who
drew up in double file, the seniors taking the uppermost place; and
through these lines the king passed, his train borne up as before, until
reaching the table set apart for him beneath a canopy, he turned
round and received the knights' reverences. The Earl of Oxford, as
vice-chamberlain, then brought him a ewer containing water, the Earl of
Surrey a bason, and Lord Rochford a napkin. Henry having performed his
ablutions, grace was said by the prelate, after which the king seated
himself beneath the canopy in an ancient chair with a curiously carved
back representing the exploit of Saint George, which had once belonged
to the founder, King Edward the Third, and called up the two cardinals,
who by this time had entered the hall, and who remained standing beside
him, one on either hand, during the repast.
As soon as the king was seated, the knights-companions put on their
caps, and retired to the table prepared for them on the right side of
the hall, where they seated themselves according to their degree--the
Duke of Richmond occupying the first place, the Duke of Suffolk the
second, and the Duke of Norfolk the third. On the opposite side of the
hall was a long beaufet covered with flasks of wine, meats, and dishes,
for the service of the knights' table. Before this stood the attendants,
near whom were drawn up two lines of pensioners bearing the second
course on great gilt dishes, and headed by the sewer. In front of the
sewer were the treasurer and comptroller of the household, each bearing
a white wand; next them stood the officers-of-arms in two lines, headed
by the Garter. The bottom of the hall was thronged with yeomen of the
guard, halberdiers, and henchmen. In a gallery at the lower end were
stationed a band of minstrels, and near them sat the Lady Anne and her
dames to view the proceedings.
The appearance of the hall during the banquet was magnificent, the upper
part being hung with arras representing the legend of Saint
George, placed there by Henry the Sixth, and the walls behind the
knights-companions adorned with other tapestries and rich stuffs.
The tables groaned with the weight of dishes, some of which may be
enumerated for the benefit of modern gastronomers. There were Georges on
horseback, chickens in brewis, cygnets, capons of high grease, carpes of
venison, herons, calvered salmon, custards planted with garters, tarts
closed with arms, godwits, peafowl, halibut engrailed, porpoise in
armour, pickled mullets, perch in foyle, venison pasties, hypocras
jelly, and mainemy royal.
Before the second course was served, the Garter, followed by Clarenceux
and Norroy, together with the heralds and pursuivants, advanced towards
the sovereign's canopy, and cried thrice in a loud voice, "Largesse!"
Upon this, all the knights-companions arose and took off their caps. The
Garter then proceeded to proclaim the king's titles in Latin and French,
and lastly in English, as follows:--"Of the most high, most excellent,
and most mighty monarch, Henry the Eighth, by the grace of God King of
England, France, and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, and Sovereign of
the most noble Order of the Garter."
This proclamation made, the treasurer of the household put ten golden
marks into the Garter's cap, who making a reverence to the sovereign,
retired from the hall with his followers.
"Come, my lord legate," said Henry, when this ceremony was at an end,
"we will drink to my future queen. What ho! wine!" he added to the Earl
of Surrey, who officiated as cup-bearer.
"Your highness is not yet divorced from your present consort," replied
Campeggio. "If it please you, I should prefer drinking the health of
Catherine of Arragon."
"Well, as your eminence pleases," replied the king, taking the goblet
from the hand of Surrey; "I shall not constrain you."
And looking towards the gallery, he fixed his eyes on the Lady Anne and
drained the cup to the last drop.
"Would it were poison," muttered Sir Thomas Wyat, who stood behind the
Earl of Surrey, and witnessed what was passing.
"Give not thy treasonable thoughts vent, gossip," said Will Sommers,
who formed one of the group near the royal table, "or it may chance that
some one less friendly disposed towards thee than myself may overhear
them. I tell thee, the Lady Anne is lost to thee for ever. Think'st thou
aught of womankind would hesitate between a simple knight and a king? My
lord duke," he added sharply to Richmond, who was looking round at him,
"you would rather be in yonder gallery than here."
"Why so, knave?" asked the duke.
"Because the Fair Geraldine is there," replied the jester. "And yet your
grace is not the person she would most desire to have with her."
"Whom would she prefer?" inquired the duke angrily.
The jester nodded at Surrey, and laughed maliciously.
"You heard the health given by the king just now, my lord," observed the
Duke of Suffolk to his neighbour the Duke of Norfolk; "it was a shrewd
hint to the lord legate which way his judgment should decline. Your
niece will assuredly be Queen of England."
"I did not note what was said, my lord," replied Norfolk; "I pray you
repeat it to me."
Suffolk complied, and they continued in close debate until the
termination of the banquet, when the king, having saluted the company,
returned to the presence-chamber.
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